Do we tell that we are undergoing fertility treatment? To whom?

By (psychologist), (embryologist), (embryologist) and .
Last Update: 01/24/2023

When a couple has problems conceiving, their life plan is altered. This is an unforeseen situation that generates frustration and stress. In addition, assuming that you need help to get pregnant can be complicated when, at the time, you have the perception that everyone seems to get pregnant easily and naturally.

Nothing could be further from the truth, as fertility problems are estimated to affect one in six couples of reproductive age. However, despite a growing trend, talking about assisted reproductive treatments and deciding whether to tell family and friends about them is still a major dilemma today.

Do we count that we are in assisted reproduction?

Do we tell our family and/or friends that we are undergoing fertility treatment? There is no clear answer to this question. Each couple is different and should jointly assess which option is the most appropriate and what will make them feel more comfortable. For some people it is a relief to talk about the process they are going through, as sharing their feelings with family and/or friends helps them to unburden themselves and overcome the situation. If this is the case and the couple is not unhappy, it is advisable to talk about the fertility treatment and how they feel.

On the other hand, there are people who want to talk about the treatment at the assisted reproduction clinic, but do not want to give all the information or too many details. Therefore, if you do not want to give rise to questions that may be uncomfortable, you should set a limit.

One option is to make it clear that this is a very personal matter and that your preference is not to be asked directly. In this way, the couple will be able to discuss what they want to say and what they are comfortable with about their assisted reproduction treatment, without the pressure of having to answer questions from family and/or friends.

Finally, there are people who are more reserved and prefer not to discuss something as private as the fact that they are attending a fertility clinic. This decision is completely valid, but it is advisable to make an introspection and analyze the reason for the decision not to tell.

If you want to hide, for example, out of shame or guilt, it is advisable to seek the help of a psychologist specializing in assisted reproduction to overcome these negative thoughts and deal with infertility in a much healthier way.

who do we tell?

In the event that the couple has chosen to tell that they are going to undergo fertility treatment, it will be necessary to previously choose whom. Deciding to talk about it does not imply that it should be done with everyone. For this reason, it is important for the couple to decide, between the two of them, how much to reduce (or not) the group of people to talk to.

The partner may want to have support, but does not want to feel that he/she is telling the same thing a thousand times, when, at times, he/she does not feel like talking about it. In this case, it is advisable to narrow the circle and talk in confidence with some family members and/or very close friends, while other people can be told without too much detail or not at all. Each couple is free to choose how far to count and to whom.

On the other hand, keep in mind that, if they have not been through it, these people may not understand the magnitude of what the couple is going through. As a result, they may not perform as expected at certain times. It may be necessary to guide them in what they can do and how they can help. The partner should not hesitate to explain openly what is needed or if something has caused discomfort.

Benefits of having fertility treatment

First of all, one of the main advantages of telling someone close to you that the couple has fertility problems and that they have resorted to assisted reproductive techniques is that they will usually get important emotional support. Thus, they will not have to hide the different moods they go through throughout the treatment. In addition, they will avoid going through moments that can be hard and complicated in solitude.

On the other hand, it will be a relief at family gatherings or with friends, who will stop asking indiscreet questions that make the couple feel uncomfortable about when they plan to have children.

This also eliminates the fear that everything will be discovered. If the couple talks naturally about it, they will not have to make excuses to family and friends when it comes to going to the clinic or injecting medication.

Disadvantages and recommendations

If the couple decides to tell that they have gone to an assisted reproduction clinic, they may also encounter certain inconveniences. Between them, the couple may receive some comment or opinion that surely has no bad intention, but that does not make them feel good.

In addition, family members and/or friends may want to be constantly informed and ask questions. This, no doubt, can end up overwhelming and adding stress to the couple. Not to mention that the couple will have to say the same thing several times, when perhaps it is what they least want to say.

Therefore, these tips can be very useful:

  • Be very clear about the extent to which each person will be counted.
  • Think beforehand about how to answer certain questions and set limits.
  • Speak naturally and express yourself openly. For example, when you do not want to talk about the subject or when a comment has not been appropriate.

Finally, mention the option of consulting a psychologist specialized in assisted reproduction. He is the specialist who will be able to help the couple to face the situation and to obtain tools to manage it.

FAQs from users

Do you have to tell people at work that you go to a fertility clinic?

By Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

The decision to tell or not to tell your work environment that you are undergoing assisted reproduction treatment depends, to a great extent, on the relationship you have with your coworkers.

Undoubtedly, it can be a subject that may raise uncomfortable questions that the person is not willing to answer because they are too private or, simply, because they come from people with whom he/she does not have the required confidence. Therefore, if you decide to talk about it at work, you must be very clear about how far you are going to tell, set limits and have prepared a series of assertive responses that cut off the intrusions.

On the other hand, talking to the person in charge so that he/she understands the situation can be beneficial and help to reduce the possible stress generated by frequent absences, but it will be, again, a very personal decision.

What is the importance of talking about fertility treatment?

By Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

First of all, it is worth mentioning that the couple can freely decide not to talk to their environment about the assisted reproduction treatment they are going to undergo or are undergoing. Similarly, it should be clear that the couple is in control of how much they tell and to whom.

However, talking about the fertility treatment can help the couple to unburden themselves and to have a trusted person (or persons) to provide that emotional support when they need it.

Suggested for you

If you want to learn more about the psychological aspects of assisted reproduction, we recommend you to read the following article: Psychological aspects in assisted reproduction.

On the other hand, if you wish to read about the role of the couple in assisted reproduction treatments, you can access this link: The role of the partner in assisted reproduction techniques.

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FAQs from users: 'Do you have to tell people at work that you go to a fertility clinic?' and 'What is the importance of talking about fertility treatment?'.

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Authors and contributors

 Amalia Bayonas
Amalia Bayonas
Psy.D., Ph.D.
Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the University of Miami, Florida, with over 20 years experience in the treatment of psychological aspects associated with assisted reproduction patients. Organization of workshops and talks addressed to both infertile patients and professionals. Several research projects and campaigns for the prevention and emotional well-being. Head of Psychology Unit at clinic FIV Valencia (Spain). More information about Amalia Bayonas
License: PV 3734
 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
Cristina Mestre Ferrer
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information about Cristina Mestre Ferrer
 Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Graduate in Health Biology from the University of Alcalá and specialized in Clinical Genetics from the same university. Master in Assisted Reproduction by the University of Valencia in collaboration with IVI clinics. More information about Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
License: 3435-CV
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